Christmas is coming... it it right around the corner. Are you ready yet... getting there... thinking about it... or haven't a clue?
We all know that it comes every year... December 25th ... like clockwork! Most of us spend a good deal of time and money getting ready for the BIG DAY!
There is another day that is even more special... and much bigger than Christmas... it is coming... are you getting ready?
Today is the first Sunday of Advent. Advent runs from today until Christmas. It starts four Sunday's before Christmas. It is a time to "get ready"... a time to prepare!
Sorta like we prepare for Christmas! We decorate... buy gifts... clean... cook ... and PREPARE for Christmas Day.
But Advent is also very very different! During advent there is very little physical preparation. The preparation is mostly spiritual! It is a matter of our HEART! During Advent we get ourselves ready.. we get our heart (mind, will , emotions, intellect) ready!
Advent means "COMING".
So, what is coming and how do we get ready?
Let me take you back in history... far, far back.. about 700 BC. The Israelites were in a terrible mess! Their kingdom was fractured... they were ruled by a horrid and ungodly king... and they had turned away from their God... the only God! Their very existence was being threatened with total destruction from Assyria!
They needed a great ruler, someone who could lead them out of the mess they had gotten themselves into! They had been expectantly waiting for his COMING for so long. However, during this time in history much of the nation had forgotten about this promised Messiah... this great anointed KING!
But God had not forgotten His promises. He again, through a prophet, brought good news to this terribly disobedient people...
"BEHOLD, A VIRGIN WILL BE WITH CHILD AND BEAR A SON, AND SHE WILL CALL HIS NAME EMMANUEL (meaning: God with us)." Isaiah 7:14
This was not the first time...nor the last that God would speak about promises of His coming KING!
God spoke over 300 times about this heavenly KING that was coming... that He would send.
Israel had been waiting for this KING for so so long!!!
Finally, He came! Born to the young virgin... just like God had said hundreds and hundreds of years before. He was GOD... "God with us"! THIS is the reason we celebrate Christmas!
During Advent, we prepare ourselves spiritually by remembering the birth of our KING! But that is just part of it!
There is more preparation... there is another COMING!
Another prophet told of this second coming...
..." AND THE LORD, WHOM YOU SEEK, WILL SUDDENLY COME TO HIS TEMPLE; AND THE MESSENGER OF THE COVENANT IN WHOM YOU DELIGHT, BEHOLD, HE IS COMING, SAY THE LORD OF HOSTS." Malachi 3:1b
Again, the bible is full of prophesies of the KING coming back... coming as a conquering KING to rule and reign planet earth!
THIS is what we as Christians are to prepare for. This is the Advent we are to be thinking about!!!!
During this time of year... we are to remember Jesus' first coming... His birth. And why He came! He came to die and to redeem (buy back with a price) us from the slave market of sin and death. And through His death and resurrection, we... everyone who believes...become part of His holy and forever kingdom!
We are to remember that we are God's children. That we belong to Him! And we are to prepare for this eternal KING'S inevitable coming back to rule... and set all things straight! We are to prepare for an eternity with Emanuel... God WITH us!
How are we to prepare?
First, make sure you belong to HIM! Repent! Repent for not living your life God's way. We don't like that word as a culture. Well, we really don't understand it! It's hard to say that we are wrong... but in our hearts we know that we are not perfect.
Repent has such a beautiful meaning!!!! In Hebrew the work is nicham... it's idea is... "go towards God". When we repent... we tell God what He already knows... ways we have moved away from him...ways we have sinned... and by recognizing THAT we spiritually make a U-turn and move towards Him... right into God's waiting, loving and OPEN arms! The arms of love!
If you have not made the decision to give your life back to it's original owner... Jesus... do it! Tell Jesus that you want Him to be the LORD (creator, owner) of your life! Some Christian's describe this as asking Jesus into your heart... what it really means is asking Jesus to take over your "cardia"... a Greek word for heart that means your mind, will, emotions and intellect... YOUR LIFE!
If you belong to Jesus... the Author of Christmas... and the coming KING... prepare your heart and spirit by reading Scripture, praying and even fasting during Advent.
There are many Biblical Advent calendars and devotional books to help you PREPARE for the KING!!!
HE is coming... are you ready?